[UPDATE: This show has now been canceled amid the growing coronavirus crisis locally.]
Many bands in Austin, Texas, are going ahead with local gigs next week despite the South by Southwest Music Conference being called off due to the coronavirus, and so are some Minnesota acts – albeit on the other end of Interstate-35.
Nordeast punks the Bad Man, Astralblak-affiliated groover MMYYKK and alt-folky singer/songwriters Humbird and Andy Cook will all perform at the Fine Line on Wednesday, March 18, for a show being billed as the MN SXSW Showcase. It’s essentially a makeup gig for the Austin shows these performers were all supposed to play next week.
Just like a lot of the satellite events in Austin during SXSW, the Fine Line concert will be free (not the beer, though; dream on, moochers). Unlike a lot of SXSW-related gigs, the bands are actually getting paid, with support from the First Ave/Fine Line team and 89.3 the Current.
“We just wanted to make sure that the bands planning on heading to [Austin] got a chance to do a show this week, and keeping it free helps keep the SXSW vibe,” said ex-Austinite Ashley Ryan, marketing director at First Ave (which now owns the Fine Line). “Hopefully people will get to come out and support these local bands.”
The idea for the show actually originated with Cook, who said he and his record label, Good Eye Records, started planning their SXSW showcase last summer -- “so for it all to go away very suddenly is very tough.”
“I thought that if we might be able to pull something together here, it would make up for the cancellation at least a little bit, and showcase the great talent in our community,” Cook said. “Most important, I hope people have fun and that this show provides a little slice of light amidst a lot of other challenging stuff.”
Some of Minnesota’s other SXSW-bound acts -- including Soul Asylum, Gully Boys, Sean Tillmann’s Heart Bones and the 4onthefloor -- are keeping other tour dates and thus won't be in town. Heart Bones is even still planning to go ahead with its show at Barracuda in Austin on Monday, and Har Mar & Co. got a nice write-up in the Austin American-Statesman over it.
Here’s a taste below of all the acts playing the MN's mini-SXSW. Shorts as a wardrobe choice -- always a good giveaway to recognize sun-starved, fashion-ignoring Minnesotans in the Austin crowds in mid-March – are optional at the Fine Line.